An Effingham County, Georgia man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after admitting he deliberately aimed a powerful laser at commercial aircrafts, potentially endangering the passengers of these flights.

The offender, Roger Floyd Hendricks, 48, of Rincon, had been indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury on three counts of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft in November last year and pleaded guilty to the offenses on May 3, court records show.

The investigation commenced in February 2020 after the Federal Aviation Administration contacted the FBI for assistance in locating the source of three separate green laser strikes on aircraft inbound to the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

Fox News noted that the first two incidents occurred in November and December 2019. Meanwhile, Hendricks would repeat the same offense a month later in January 2020.

Court documents show that Hendricks was found responsible for the Nov. 27, 2019 strike of an Embraer ERJ-145 on Commutair flight 4935 from Chicago O’Hare International Airport as well as the Dec. 8, 2019 strike on an Airbus A321 on Delta flight 697 from Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta.

The third incident, on Jan. 14, 2020, saw another laser strike on a Cessna Citation Sovereign on a NetJets flight 385 from Chicago Midway International Airport.

The three aircrafts targeted by Hendricks can hold more than 258 passengers and crew, according to Savannah Now. The people on board, on three occasions, thankfully touched down safely following the laser strikes.

A victim pilot, who is a retired Marine Corps officer, assisted in tracking the origin of the strikes, which led to the identification of Hendricks. The man was then questioned by FBI agents where he later admitted responsibility for all three incidents.

Apart from his prison term, Hendricks has been ordered to serve three more years of supervised release by the U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr.

“With the public’s assistance, the FBI did an outstanding job of identifying Roger Hendricks as the man responsible for aiming a powerful laser at inbound Savannah aircraft,” David H. Estes, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said in a statement.

Authorities are also reminding the public that it is a serious offense and a federal felony to knowingly point the beam of a laser at an aircraft.

Laser strikes may turn deadly for air travelers and residents in the path of aircraft if the pilot becomes disoriented and temporarily blinded by the lasers, which could lead to them losing control of the plane, Ester further noted.

U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. also hit Hendricks with an additional three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. The offender won't be eligible for early release as there is no parole in the federal system.

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